Yesterday I posted on using a switch vs. a hub for network communications. Today I will talk about network card setup. In yesterday’s post I talked about the advantage of a switch to direct traffic from sender to receiver. Configuration of you network card can also help in the amount of traffic that is generated. The problem arises when extra protocols have been setup on the card. These protocols will send out queries to announce their presence and look for other clients. By configuring the card with only the needed protocol it will help eliminate unwanted traffic.
In Windows you want to get into the network card properties. In Windows XP you get this through the Control Panel in Network Connections. In Windows Vista and 7 open the Network Sharing center and then click on Manage Network Connections on the left hand side. From this point right click on the network card and go to properties. You will see a client (usually Client for Microsoft Networks), you will see File and Printer Sharing (if you are not sharing I will ensure this is off), and then you will see your protocols. You will see Internet Protocol (Vista and 7 will probably have a v4 and v6), and there may be some other list like Netbios or possibly NWLink. Unless you specifically have a need for the protocol it should be removed. TCP/IP is the only protocol you need for internet access.
For MAC you will want to check network configuration there for what protocols are loaded.
Before you make any changes on your network cards you need to check all devices that you are connecting to wherever you use you computer. Also, before you remove any of the items, copy down configuration information in case you need to add it back in.